There's a section of the Gemara that was censored and does not
appear in standard texts of the Talmud.
The Mishnah teaches that before the condemned man is taken to be killed a public announcement is made: So-and-so the son of So-and-so is to be taken to be killed by stoning for committing a particular capital crime. Anyone who has anything to say on his behalf should come forward to speak
up for him.
The Gemara makes a point of noting that according to the Mishnah the public announcement is made at the time that the death penalty was to be carried out. This stands in apparent contradiction with the following story that appears in a baraita:
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For
forty days before the execution took place, a herald
went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned
because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel
to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything on his behalf,
let him come forward.' But since nothing was brought
forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the
The Gemara concludes that Yeshu's situation was unique
since he was connected with the government. Since the
government was interested in his case, the Jewish court
wanted to ensure that everyone would recognize that
he was given every opportunity to defend himself.
The Gemara lists his five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah, all of whom are presented as offering biblical proof that they should not be killed based on how their names
appear in Tanakh, and the Sages respond with corresponding
passages that show that these names –
and the people attached to them – can be destroyed.
All of the Talmudic stories that refer to Yeshu are
confusing and difficult to understand, particularly
since they do not parallel stories about Jesus that
appear in other sources. It is possible that we have
hints here to incidents that were not preserved in other